Swollen taste buds occur when the taste buds get inflamed due to irritation from certain factors like spicy and salty foods. It is something that could happen to anyone at anytime in their lives. The taste buds become sore or enlarged which would result to the loss of appetite and a certain amount of discomfort and inconvenience. Generally, it is not something to be alarmed about because it goes away on its own. However, if the occurrence of swollen taste buds happens over and over again, this could affect the ability to taste properly.
Location of taste buds
The taste buds that ‘sense’ sweet taste are located at the tip of the tongue, while the salt taste buds are located at the sides of the tongue. The bitter taste buds are placed at the back of the tongue while the taste buds that identify sour taste are located on the lateral side of the tongue.
Factors that cause swollen taste buds
Below are the most common factors that can cause inflammation of the taste buds:
- Spicy food – These are the most common types of food that can cause irritation to the tongue. It is usually alright if taken in moderation; but eating too much of spicy foods could damage the nerves of the tongue causing it to be irritated, and later on, get swollen.
- Salty food – Salty food also does the same thing as the spicy food. Although, spicy food can trigger swelling of the taste buds faster than the salty ones.
- Abrasion of the tongue – When you bite your own tongue, or if you get into an accident wherein your tongue is scraped, the nerves will be irritated thus resulting to swollen taste buds.
- Chemical irritants – Because the tongue is made up of nerves, any food or beverages containing strong chemicals may result to irritation and inflammation of the taste buds. Examples of chemical irritants are alcohol, tobacco, and insecticides.
- Vitamin deficiency – A deficiency in vitamin B could also result to inflamed taste buds.
- Infections – Some diseases or conditions could also trigger swollen taste buds, these include yeast infections such as candidiasis and mouth ulcers.
- Acid reflux – This is a condition in which the acid inside the stomach would backflow into the mouth. The substances that comprise the gastric acid would irritate your taste buds making them swollen.
- Hot drinks – Hot beverages such as tea and coffee could irritate the taste buds if it is drunk immediately in large amounts. This would result to swollen taste buds.
Treatment for swollen taste buds
The key to effectively treat inflamed taste buds is to know the real cause of the swelling. If the condition is caused by irritation or reaction to something you ate or drank, such as spicy or salty foods and alcoholic beverages, the swelling will heal on its own with time. Still, there are some things you can do to hasten the healing. If, on the other hand, the swollen taste buds are due to vitamin deficiency, taking in oral vitamin B supplements would help significantly. These supplements are available as over-the-counter drugs in the pharmacy so there is no need for any prescription. If the swelling is caused by the acid reflux, the reflux should be treated first. The doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatment method or medication for the condition. Examples of medicines to treat acid reflux are ranitidine, esomeprazole and omeprazole. To treat inflamed taste buds as a result of mouth ulcers, anti-inflammatory pastes and gels are prescribed. Lastly, for swelling due to bacterial infection, an anti-bacterial medicine will be prescribed to kill off the microorganisms causing the inflammation.
Tips on how to manage swollen taste buds
If you have inflamed taste buds, and you want them to heal more quickly, here are some useful tips to make that possible:
- Leave the tongue alone. There are some people who are in the habit of touching and rubbing the tongue because of the discomfort brought about by the swelling, but this would only irritate the taste buds even more. It is best t leave the tongue alone and let the taste buds heal.
- Eating ice cream could alleviate or numb the pain that is felt due to the swelling of the taste buds. Also, if the cause is due to yeast infection, a cold yogurt could greatly help as it is a probiotic that helps multiply the good bacteria to fight off the bad bacteria causing the infection.
- If the taste buds are swelling due to the abrasion of the tongue, the application of glycerin on the site of the cut thrice a day would help a lot. But remember not to swallow the glycerin, after a few minutes, spit it out and rinse with water.
- A home regimen of baking soda plus water can do wonders on the swollen taste buds. Apply this mixture on the taste buds for a few minutes, spit it out then gargle with water.
Swollen taste buds would cause inconvenience and discomfort. In order to get rid of it, you have to be patient enough to wait and perform the treatment prescribed. If the swelling still persists even after a long time, it is best to consult the doctor about it.